Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Ethnic Identity, Group Status and Type of Settlement as Predictors of Ethnic Intolerance

Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Ethnic Identity, Group Status and Type of Settlement as Predictors of Ethnic Intolerance

Article excerpt

Abstract

The results of the field research of intergroup attitudes in Southern Russia (N=723) demonstrated that the relationships of the valence and uncertainty of ethnic identity, perceived discrimination and the level of religious identity with intergroup attitudes depend on a group status (majority-minority) and the type of settlement (dense - sparse). The perceived discrimination predicts the intolerance of intergroup attitudes among the majority group members whereas, the valence and uncertainty of ethnic identity - among the minorities members. The salience of ethnic identity and high level of religious identity predict intolerant attitudes among migrants with the dense way of settlement, the valence of identity and perceived discrimination predict intolerant attitudes among the migrants with the sparse type of settlement. The willingness to distinguish between people by religion provides the maintenance of their group boundaries and identity in multicultural regions of Russia. The growth of uncertainty of ethnic identity, decrease of perceived discrimination and the level of religious identity as well as general ethnic tolerance provide better adaptation of migrants in multicultural regions of Russia.

DOI: 10.11621/pir.2008.0007

Pages: 102-119

By: Lebedeva, Nadezhda M. Tatarko, Alexander N.

Themes: Social Psychology, Psychology of Management

Keywords: Social Psychology, Ethnic Identity

Introduction

As we demonstrated in our previous researches such socio-psychological factors as the valence and salience of one's own ethnic identity, perceived discrimination and the level of religious identity predicted intolerant intergroup attitudes among members of different ethnic groups in Russia's multicultural regions. Specifically, positive ethnic identity was related positively, whereas negative one was related negatively with the tolerant intergroup attitudes. The uncertainty (or ambivalence) of ethnic identity, perceived discrimination and the high level of religious identity were related positively with ethnic intolerance (Lebedeva & Tatarko, 2003, 2004).

We consider the valence of ethnic identity as a continuum between positive and negative attitudes toward one's own ethnicity. The positivity-negativity of ethnic autostereotypes and of the feelings associated with one's own ethnicity served as empirical indicators of this construct (Lebedeva, 1999). The meaning of this construct is very close to "confidence in one's own identity" which according to famous multicultural assumption is a basis for tolerance (Berry, 1984, Berry & Kalin, 2000).

The concept of "salience-uncertainty (or ambivalence) of group identity" has different meanings in different researches (Miller & Brewer, 1984; Gaertner, 1994; Brown, 2000; Taylor, 2002). In our previous research, the ambivalence of group identity was operationalized in terms of the feeling to be closer to other groups than to one's own group (Lebedeva & Tatarko, 2003, 2004). Consequently, the salience of group identity corresponds to the feeling of being closer to in-group than to out-groups. Previous studies revealed that the high salience of ethnic identity and distinctiveness of group boundaries relate negatively to intergroup outcomes (Brewer & Miller, 1984; Gaertner et al., 1993; Lebedeva, 1999). In our research the high subjective salience of ethnic identity was associated with positive whereas the subjective ambivalence was associated with negative intergroup attitudes (Lebedeva & Tatarko, 2003, 2004). A possible explanation of these results is that in an unstable society ethnic (cultural, religious) self-identification may reduce general uncertainty and serve as a tool for the process of self-awareness and self- definition.

According to Brown (2000), changing the salience of group identities in contact situations offers the promise of achieving generalized attitude change. Three different strategies exist in this case: decategorization, in which all group identities are de-emphasized, re-categorization in which a superordinate identity become salient, thus subsuming problematic subgroup divisions, and categorization in which cooperation is established while retaining the distinctive identity of participating groups. …

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